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Pedestrian Crosswalk Stings Are Back

By Aaron Kraut

Friday - 4/11/2014, 12:20pm  ET

Crosswalk at Wisconsin Avenue and Stanford Street (file photo)A sting operation at an often disregarded Wisconsin Avenue crosswalk last week led to 24 citations for drivers who didn’t stop for an undercover cop posing as a pedestrian.

Next week, Montgomery County will launch a spring Street Smart campaign managed by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Jeff Dunckel, Montgomery County’s pedestrian safety coordinator, said part of that initiative will include a new wave of the undercover police crosswalk stings.

The sting last week was set up for two hours at the notorious intersection of Stanford Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Drivers there must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

But with no traffic signal on the six-lane road, pedestrians say that rarely happens.

Last June, police nabbed 22 drivers for failing to stop with a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Last April, as county officials and police began an aggressive spring pedestrian safety initiative, a motorist mowed down one of the pedestrian signs at the crosswalk.

Esther Bowring, a county government spokesperson, said police do regular enforcement of pedestrian safety laws. The effort that will begin next week is a more concentrated effort to raise awareness with more and more pedestrians taking advantage of warmer weather.

The decoy pedestrian police stings started last year.  Officials began putting the enforcement focus on drivers who were violating the law, not just pedestrians jaywalking or crossing without the walk signal.